With white background for printing

Education In Modern Society
Provenzo Chapter Two:
Schools as Cultural Institutions
“A person should be just cultured
enough to be able to look with
suspicion upon culture.”
--Samuel Butler
Schools: cultural institutions
• Culture: (T.S. Eliot):
All the
activities and
interests of a
Cultural eras:
• European male social
and cultural tradition
• Direct challenge to narrow
Western definition of
legitimate knowledge
High culture:
• DaVinci, Michelangelo,
Picasso, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Bach
Popular culture:
• Rock music, hamburgers,
television, world wide web, and . . .
Schools attempt to
introduce students to:
• most noble, meaningful of
human creation
• usually high culture
Schools (subtly, overtly) socialize students . . .
• to respect culture
• to become functioning members of society
Evidence: high school mission statements:
“preparation for responsible living . . .”
Emile Durkheim observed:
• Education:
of young
Culture question:
• Whose culture is being passed on by schools?
1800, 1900, 2000, 2100 a.d.
Historically, the U.S. has been:
• Racist,
Cultural capital:
• Curriculum reflects the realities of power and
influence within our culture.
• Curriculum selection is a cultural and political
act—whether or not one is conscious of it.
Cultural capital
• The language
teachers use,
• the curricula they
• the values they hold
can be described as
cultural capital.
Cultural capital
(Education distributes and legitimates certain forms of:
• knowledge
• language
• practices
• values
• ways of talking
• acting,
• moving,
• dressing,
• socializing.
Schools: not merely instructional sites,
Sites: where culture of dominant society institutionalized.
Cultural capital
• Teachers: 85% Caucasian
• Students: 33% self report as “of color”
• In a diverse society such as the U.S. where different
values, traditions, and worldviews separate the students
from the teachers, conflict is inevitable.
• Embodies specific values and
• Not neutral or apolitical.
• Subject to the personal needs and
interests of those in power.
• Increased empowerment of under-represented groups has
characterized U.S. society over the last forty years.
• Resulted in increased demands that new models of
culture be represented in curriculum.
Cultural conservatives
• Argue for a model of
literacy that focuses the
attention of children on a
common western cultural
• E.D. Hirsch: What Your
First (Second, Sixth
Grader) Needs to Know .
Cultural Conservatives argue:
• Cultural literacy constitutes the only sure avenue of
opportunity for the marginalized.
• Lest they remain the same as their parents.
Western cannon:
• valuable body of knowledge
• not the only body of cultural
knowledge children need to
• Many of its assumptions need to
be challenged if we are to
achieve a more just and equitable
Critical multiculturalists:
• Respect earlier insight.
• Display their respect by continuing to question the
work of their intellectual ancestors.
No curriculum is neutral.
Formal curriculum:
The explicitly stated goals and
objectives of education.
Hidden curriculum:
• Unintended outcomes, subtle
influences, and outcomes of
• The many things which are
taught in school besides the
formal subject matter.
Examples: Students learning how to behave in class;
rules of conduct, classroom organization, informal
activities such as brown nosing, being polite, deciding
who and what was cool, and so on.
Null curriculum:
• The curriculum that does not exist
• Did not make the cut
• The hole in the middle of the
• Something that is there but does not
• We teach things by excluding them
from the curriculum—by not teaching
• What schools do not teach may be as important as what they
do teach.
• Ignorance is not simply a neutral void;
• It has an important effect on the kinds of options one is able
to consider, the alternatives one can examine, and the
perspectives from which one can view a situation or problem.
• If one of the purposes of schooling is to foster wisdom,
weaken prejudice, and develop the ability to use a wide range
of modes of thought, then we ought to look carefully at what
the schools do not include in the curriculum.
• “On the rare occasion that someone introduced
another (non-Western) tradition, I dismissed it
as secondary—as not holding up to the
substance of the works of the Western cannon.
Much of what I understood about the world
was the result of what I had not been taught.”
Resistance theory and learning:
• Students rejecting the
traditional curriculum
• not because they are not
smart enough to succeed
in the work,
• but because they see this
education as not
representing their family
or cultural values.
• For many disadvantaged
students, success in school
means a type of forced
cultural suicide.
Critical pedagogy:
• (from pedagogy—the work or
function of a teacher)
• Understanding the role of education
in the culture in which it functions;
• Concerned with the realities of what
goes on in the classroom;
• The connections between the school
and the society, media, families, and
the society education serves.
• What is taught more often than not
reflects traditions of power, authority,
and domination in the culture.
• Effective teaching must take into
account the fact that education,
pedagogy, teaching, and instruction are
cultural and political acts.
• No such thing as neutral education
Critical pedagogy:
• Developing pedagogical practices informed by an
ethical stance that contests racism, sexism, class
exploitation, and other dehumanizing and
exploitative social relations as ideologies and social
practices that disrupt and devalue public life.
Critical pedagogy:
• related to border crossing
• to promote pedagogical practices that
offer the possibilities for schools to
become places students and teachers
can become engaged in critical thinking
and ethical reflection about what it
means to bring a wider variety of
cultures into dialogue with each other,
to theorize about cultures in the plural,
within, rather than outside antagonistic
relations of domination and
• Who creates knowledge?
• Who is empowered by it?
• How are different groups subordinated, marginalized, and
excluded in U.S. education and culture?
• What are the possibilities for resistance?
• What are the possibilities for achieving a more just and
equitable society through the act of teaching (and
• These are questions that must be asked by those working
(and studying) in postmodern schools and classrooms.
Discussion questions:
Can you think of examples of cultures
competing with each other in your
(Example: Gay Pride Parade and related article in Twin Ports)
Discussion questions:
Give examples of hidden curriculum from
your own experience as a student.
Discussion questions: CPS
J. What are the good things about
contemporary or postmodern culture?
What are problematic?
Discussion questions: CPS
definition, then discussion
K. Why is the concept of paideia a useful one
in understanding education and its role in
our culture?
Your CPS responder
• Registering online
• Uses for our class
• Piloting this for
course use-demonstration
Interstate New Teacher Assessment
and Support Consortium (INTASC)
Ten standards or principles
Ten entries assigned for the entire semester
Compiled in a professional portfolio
Handed in one week before final
Create one entry for each standard or principle
You may start with any principle which interests you
from your reading
• Samples available for reviewing: describe, analyze,
• Mnemonic devices for memorizing these—test material
at any time. Demo devices to aid memory.
• Questions are signs of intelligence: ask away